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Virginia crops in dire situation

Nearly 70 percent of Virginia’s corn crops are in very poor or poor condition because of dry weather conditions, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Officials with the Virginia Cooperative Extension say the same will be true of soybean, peanut and cotton crops if more rain doesn’t come soon.

“It’s hard to definitively say what will happen, but the critical development time for peanuts and cotton is happening right now for most crops, and if they don’t get the water they need they won’t develop,” said Janet Spencer, Virginia Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Isle of Wight County.

According to the NASS report, the majority of cotton and peanut crops are in fair to good condition, and soybeans are in poor to fair condition.

“Some second-crop soybeans are failing to germinate, and peanuts and cotton are starting to show early signs of moisture stress,” the service reported.

Spencer agreed with the assessment.

“It depends on when the soybeans were planted,” she said. “The ones planted earlier are doing better, but those that were planted later are still very small. They need the water for development. The concern now is the toll that three days of 100-degree heat will have on the small soybeans.”

Peanuts are currently pegging and cotton is beginning to produce bolls, a time when both need rain.

“It’s a very critical time,” Spencer said. “We’ve had some thunderstorms come through, but it’s only a few tenths of an inch. It’s a start, but with the heat we need that every day.”